I’ve been meaning to get to Murakami for quite a while now. I was going to start with 1Q84 but after reading Jessica from Book Oblivion’s post on the best way to read Murakami I took her advice and decided to start with Hard-Boiled Wonderland & the End of the World. With a title like that you’re not sure what you’re going to get! I was completely absorbed by this book. I loved every moment of it and it is thus far my favourite read for 2015. Actually, I’ve added it to my favourite books (of all time) shelf on GoodReads.
Hard-Boiled Wonderland was published in 1985 but not for one minute did it feel like it could not have been written last year. I would describe this book as part scifi and part fantasy but I don’t think putting a label on this book is going to do it any justice because it is many things all at once. It is a highly enjoyable and clever book set in a time where some things resemble the world we live in and other things do not. The book alternates between two narratives; one part End of the World and one part Hard-Boiled Wonderland. There is so much going on in this book with so many wonderful and inventive details. You’ll be entertained and you’ll be left thinking about it for a while after.
The blurb on GoodReads describes the novel:
‘A narrative particle accelerator that zooms between Wild Turkey Whiskey and Bob Dylan, unicorn skulls and voracious librarians, John Coltrane and Lord Jim. Science fiction, detective story and post-modern manifesto all rolled into one rip-roaring novel, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World is the tour de force that expanded Haruki Murakami’s international following. Tracking one man’s descent into the Kafkaesque underworld of contemporary Tokyo, Murakami unites East and West, tragedy and farce, compassion and detachment, slang and philosophy.’
None of the characters in the book are named. A few readers talk about why on GoodReads. In my opinion, they just don’t need them because they are all so distinct anyway. That’s a good writer for you. Also when I finished this book and began mulling it over I realised because of certain elements of this story they can’t have names…I wish I could talk about why I think that but I refuse to ruin this novel for any of you even in the smallest way. A huge part of the enjoyment of this novel is the discovery of what is going on so if you enjoy detective elements to your reading you’ll enjoy this.
I highly recommend this book! I absolutely loved it! I’d love to hear what you thought of it if you’ve read it. Next on my Murakami TBR is Kafka on the Shore.